Michael Hahn
Senior Content Management Analyst, Vasont Systems

One of the dubious joys of working in a technical field is creating training presentations from the operations and technical manuals created for products or technology. Manually extracting content from a document to re-type into Microsoft PowerPoint is a chore most trainers and training support personnel desperately wish to avoid.

For technical documentation departments supporting training, a frequent request is direct conversion of document content into Microsoft PowerPoint. Vasont, the content management system (CMS) produced by Vasont Systems, now offers PowerPoint as an output product, facilitating the reuse of technical documentation content as training material.

Vasont users can construct PowerPoint presentations from existing documentation components by dragging-and-dropping the existing text and graphics from one window into another.

User-Defined Mapping

Vasont Processing Options are built-in routines used to automate a variety of content management functions. They represent a library of flexible, reusable functions used in copying, inserting, and editing content, greatly reducing the need for expensive custom programming.

In this example, the source content is displayed in XMetaL, an XML editing tool.

When the user drags-and-drops a piece of existing XML content into one of the pre-designed slide templates, the action activates a Processing Option that converts the content from XML-based markup to Microsoft PowerPoint slides.

By assigning the appropriate Processing Options to components in the source documentation set, the user creates an automation map for Vasont to use when components are extracted for inclusion in a PowerPoint presentation. The paragraphs and list items in the source document set are mapped to corresponding levels in a PowerPoint template through the Vasont interface and the proper Processing Options.

Drag-and-Drop Functionality

Vasont users may create PowerPoint presentations by adding a new slide to a document using the Presentation Content Type defined in Vasont, then dragging and dropping text components and graphics from any mapped document stored in Vasont to the new slide, from the left pane to the right pane as illustrated below.

The resulting PowerPoint slide may be viewed immediately:

The Presentation Content Type is defined using a PowerPoint template, developed using Microsoft PowerPoint in the usual way. Existing PowerPoint presentations can be stored as documents in Vasont using the Presentation Content Type and modified by dropping content from other documents stored in the content management system into slides in the presentation.

The PowerPoint file is merely another output presentation of the source information; modifying the resulting PowerPoint file directly will not result in changes to source information stored in the database, but modifying the source information can produce changes in the PowerPoint presentation.

This system allows the user to quickly and easily create a slide presentation (or update an existing slide presentation) from existing content paragraphs or lists without extra steps or significant manipulation.